Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

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Mr Sausage
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Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#1 Post by Mr Sausage » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:41 am

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#2 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:43 am

I read the novel late last year, having seen the film a couple times before. I loved the novel, and Hitch is mostly faithful to it, but returning to the movie (immediately after the novel) displays some of its weaknesses. The revelation in the film pushes the film to a halt after a strong first hour, where once you’ve learned what’s happened it’s essentially just a very long exposition drop, in my eyes. It has none of the power of Vertigo’s similar revelation. Especially because the narrator’s character arc is left incomplete in the film, or, rather, she hasn’t the character arc of the novel. There are certainly some sequences in the film that match the novel for power but the emphasis on male bonding in the second half of the film at the expense of the narrator also hurts it in my eyes (as briefly detailed earlier). It’s still enjoyable and everyone’s very fine in it, but it ranks low for me in terms of Hitchcock.

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Roscoe
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#3 Post by Roscoe » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:48 am

I read the novel before I ever saw the film, this being in the years before home video and you had to wait for a rep house, if you had one nearby, to run things or hope that a local TV station might run something. The thing that I noticed when I finally saw the film, and still notice every time I see the film now, is the current Mrs. De Winter's behavior after the catastrophe with the dress. In the film, I always find it impossible to believe that anyone in that position wouldn't have told Mrs. Danvers to pack her bags and clear out immediately, and fuck the two weeks' wages and forget about a reference bitch, which wasn't the case when I read the book. Of course there are plot reasons why that can't happen, I entirely understand, but I still find it an example of a situation that worked on the page that didn't work when dramatized.

Jonathan S
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#4 Post by Jonathan S » Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:58 am

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:43 am
It’s still enjoyable and everyone’s very fine in it, but it ranks low for me in terms of Hitchcock.
I agree; despite Hitch always being one of my favourite directors, for decades I didn't feel any need to have Rebecca in my collection... until I became a Hitchcock completist. Just as the equally overrated Lady Vanishes is a garrulous writers' picture, Rebecca (like Spellbound and Paradine Case) feels like one its producer's interminable memos in which words dominate everything else. Indeed I recall Selznick reshot sequences after Hitch left the project and of course he was the one who received the Oscar.

Its popularity as a romantic movie always surprises me (maybe it's a deliberately ironic Hitch touch that the marriage proposal is shouted off-screen from a hotel bathroom!?) I suppose Olivier's typically icy, rigid demeanour is more appropriate here than in some of his other roles but I rarely found him an interesting actor on screen. It's really left to Judith Anderson to supply the movie's only hints of real passion - I suspect that's primarily where Hitch's interest lay and, as usual with him, the nominal villain invites the most empathy from me.

schellenbergk
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#5 Post by schellenbergk » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:55 pm

Rebecca is - to me - an odd film. I like it but I don't love it. Usually I love Hitchcock's work, but I don't find it to be a typical Hitch film (too Selznek-y). So it doesn't work for me on the level of admiring the director's work.

What does work for me is that it's a great early example of LGBTQ Cinema. I watch the film now really for just one scene: where Mrs. Danvers lovingly caresses Rebecca's underwear. To me, it ranks as one of the great 'Queer' moments in pre-WW2 Hollywood.

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HinkyDinkyTruesmith
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#6 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:03 pm

For me, the moment where Danny attempts to persuade the new Mrs. de Winter to commit suicide is just as effective as anything else in Hitchcock. There's an overhead shot in the sequence that always appears with the excitement of invention, always unexpected somehow.

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Rayon Vert
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Re: Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)

#7 Post by Rayon Vert » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:31 am

I really like the film and don't react negatively to the some of the points described here. It’s a sneaky film in that it starts off fairly simply and then develops into a near epic-sized baroque monster full of tone changes and plot twists, as grand and labyrinthine as Manderley. That mansion really is a central "character", like the house in Psycho you could say. Visually very appealing also.

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